San Andre islands April-June 2016

Hi

So we moved on very quickly once we got in anchor. That afternoon we said buy to everybody and prepared the boat for a short hop to portobello the next day. I saw a beautiful weather window from Panama to San Andre and we needed to get ready and check out.
The next day we left, heart banging, at the worry to sail again after so many months….but all went well.
Checked out and stocked up the last few bits, checked the weather again and off to bed.
Early up the following morning and so our 32h sail started. Caught a fish, cero within minutes to everybody’s joy as we missed eating fish in America. We had a beautiful sail that day and night although 2/3 children were sea sick. James, as usual 5 times and Alice 7 times. Belivie me, perfect wind and under meter waives. None of them will be sailors, maybe Charlie….

We arrived in San Andre Saturday morning to absolutely stunning coloured water, the islands are known for 7 different shades of green, blue and turquoise. Only 3 other boats in anchor, perfect!
Checked in and went for a wonder to find something to eat and crashed!
We delayed our Easter holidays so we were in for some fun for few weeks. Got internet sorted, hired golf carts and took a tour around the island, swam in the beautiful sea, the favourite swing came out again and walked to other beaches north of the island.
We also met a man who was a teacher and who came to the boat for few hours each week to teach some Spanish…..still none the wiser. I just spout on in my basic, crappy Spanish and people understand me!

Other issues was pressing us, my passport. I had 3 months left And nearest Finnish embassies were either in Washington, D.C. States, Mexico City or Lima, Peru . Hmmmmmm. Checking ticket prices, hotel etc and finally settled on Peru, for 3 days, on my own…..exiting but slightly worried for chris, in anchor with 3 kids….

Well, off I went. As the plane took off it felt like my heart was being ripped out. The natural instinct is not to leave your kids, or for few hours or few days nearby maybe, not an a hop to South America , far, far away. Well, got over that feeling pretty quick. Loved strolling around panama airport on my own, something to eat and then Peru. I have always had a big dream to be able to go to Peru and this was it. Shame without the family and only 3 days but I was determined to fit in as much as possible.
Landed past midnight to a pre booked taxi and straight to the hotel. And then I was feasting to have access to high speed internet, the joy of that and watching tv. Fell asleep 3 am….

The next day appointment went fine, fingerprinted, paperwork and a chat in Finnish. Where do we send the passport? Well, can’t do San Andre but Panama has a consulate….
Walked around the neighbourhood and down to the sea. Totally weird to be on my own, like I had lost my apron and felt naked. No kids to fuss about or distract, sipping a coffee, yes a coffee and gazing at the sea. Beautiful!

The next day I went for a tour of Lima city. Lima, or Rimar as it was called is the second largest city built in desert after Cairo. It never rains there, just raw mist in winter. They get their water from 3 rivers from the Andes and that get collected in big cistern under the city.
The city has 43 different districts, with 43 different mayors, all with different taxes and laws, totally messy.

Barranco area is arty and green, Isidro area most expensive and tidy and Chocorollo very poor, with lots of unfinished houses and shanty buildings, low taxes, Parrakash, full of fossils….
Minimum wage is $300/ month.
There is 20.000 archeological sites in Peru, 300 sites in Lima and 40% in Pachacaman, an hour drive outside the city.
The inca period was very short and before incas there was wari people who ruled for a long time.
The centre of Lima has beautiful yellow painted buildings left over from the Spanish conquistadors, old churches and a famous church with catacombs underneath with lots of bones and low ceilings…..dark and musty smell……

Lunch was spent on my own again, feels funny to sit in a restaurant and people watch without being interrupted by children and I had the dish of the day which was marinated sea urchin…….sounded disgusting but I was up for something different. It was delicious and totally blew me away!

The afternoon I was booked to the Pachacaman tour for this relatively new dig site. They have found vast areas of buildings and roads that are thousands of years old. The artifacts are hemp shoes, bowls, blankets with the most amazing colours on it, deathmasks, totem poles to name but few….totally mind blowing. And I was one lucky girl indeed to see some of this amazing Peru and culture. One day I will be back but with hubby and kids.

Before I knew it was time to fly back to San Andre and find out if kids are still alive and all was good in camp moody Finn. Ditched the school for the time I was away and payed for a day in the hotel across the anchorage with a big pool and lunch and snacks included…. Not bad.
So that journey done we went back to normal again with school, swimming but also borrowed a training kite surfing kite and the boys loved it. We had a go as well and it seems to be a lot of good fun. So the next few weeks when the wind picked up we had them training with it. James is well into it, Charlie lost interest a bit but I think he will love it when they can finally go on a proper board and go crazy!

Our friends Colin and Ann sailed in one morning from Panama so it was party again.
James got braces sorted out as its so cheap in San Andre just to sort his front teeth out, lisping away but totally cool with it. In South America it’s in and cool to have braces. Great stuff.
We also went to an island just outside the anchorage where you can swim with the manta rays. What an amazing feel to see these animals close by and to touch them, they feel so soft and the best part is that the Rays can come and go as they please, no captivity or prisoners in pools! Beautiful!

Alice also had her birthday there with a frozen cake and a day at the hotel, presents included princess dress, barbies, hand bags, stickers etc.

Then I lost our debit card, or I left it in the bloody atm so we had no access to money. Lucky our friends Steph and Stewart from sailing yacht Matador came to our rescue so we didn’t have to see hunger or to beg on the streets….
Brexit kicked in, the feeling was great……yes, it will be a long road but hopefully a good one!

So now we had to sort out where to go as the boat needed to come out of the water for few months in Panama . We enrolled in trusted house sitters and started looking for a long term house/ pet sitt. Wow, what a world. So many places……but we needed something where we did not have to pay stupid money to fly to. Ideally Costa Rica or Mexico but as it was, we got one in Calgary. Great stuff. Now we needed to get back down to Panama. But the weather was not going to be our friend this time….days went by and it was blowing a whoolie, boats dragging and tempers rising as we had paid for the tickets and really needed to get a move on….
Finally I saw a weather window of 3 days, let the sea calm down and go.
This trip was rougher as closer to wind sailing, James sick once, Charlie once but Alice didn’t stop for the whole journey. Not until we saw land on the horizon and she got a little sugar in form of a lollipop.The thunder and lightning was raging around us and the raw water pump wasn’t working properly so we had to use the engine on a tick over trying to beat the darkness that was surrounding us…..but no. It got dark, the moon came up, few clouds and in we motored slooowly to Linton bay. Checking for other boats and anchored at the back of the pack. Jeez, it felt good to be safely in a bay, everybody feeling great and just crashing out again. Good night!

P.s we cought 6 fish.
And our hermit crabs we had as our pet in San Andre got back to their home before we left.

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